LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 161
in her arms, she sat down on her box, turned her back round, and gazed listlessly into the river.
" Going to take it easy, after all! " said the trader. " Gal's got grit. I see."
The woman looked calm, as the boat went on; and a beautiful soft summer breeze passed like a compassionate spirit over her head, — the gentle breeze, that never inquires whether the brow is dusky or fair that it fans. And she saw sunshine sparkling on the water, in golden ripples, and heard gay voices, full of ease and pleasure, talking around her everywhere ; but her heart lay as if a great stone had fallen on it. Her baby raised himself up against her, and stroked her cheeks with his little hands ; and, springing up and down, crowing and chatting, seemed determined to arouse her. She strained him suddenly and tightly in her arms, and slowly one tear after another fell on his wondering, unconscious face; and gradually she seemed, and little by little, to grow calmer, and busied herself with tending and nursing him.
The child, a boy of ten months, was uncommonly large and strong of his age, and very vigorous in his limbs. Never, for a moment, still, he kept his mother constantly busy in holding him, and guarding his springing activity.
" That 7s a fine chap ! " said a man, suddenly stopping opposite to him, with his hands in his pockets. " How old is he ? "
" Ten months and a half," said the mother.
The man whistled to the boy, and offered him part of a stick of candy, which he eagerly grabbed at, and very soon had it in a baby's general depository, to wit, his mouth.
" Rum fellow! " said the man. " Knows what's what! " and he whistled, and walked on. When he had got to the other side of the boat, he came across Haley, who was smoking on top of a pile of boxes.
The stranger produced a match, and lighted a cigar, saying, as he did so, —